Tips and Resources on Compensation and Personnel Matters

Compensation and Staffing News
May 2017

New Salary? New Congregation? What Happens to Benefits?

The Office of Church Staff Finances (OCSF) wants to make sure that benefits are administered properly and continue smoothly for staff members who have a change in salary or are transitioning to a new congregational employer. 

If your congregation is making salary adjustments for the 2017-2018 year (or anytime you adjust salaries) for employees who participate in any of our benefit plans, we ask that you notify Rachael Brennan, Insurance Plans Coordinator. Send an email to that includes employee names, effective date of salary change, and new (annualized) salaries. Rachael also wants to know about staff terminations of plan participants, including whether the staff member is transferring to another UU employer.

If you are a staff member moving to another congregation, please consult our Transitioning Benefits page, which includes important information about our Health, Retirement, and Group Insurance Plans along with a link to our Benefits Transition/Coverage Continuation Form. Completing this form will help ensure a seamless transition of the benefits you receive through OCSF when you change employers, and you may find it useful as you prepare for conversations with your new congregation regarding your compensation package.
Re-Designate Clergy Housing Allowance Each Calendar Year

The clergy housing allowance is an important tax exclusion for ministers. The amount is set by way of an official board action prior to the start of each calendar year. (Make a note now to put this on your December agenda!) So why are we mentioning it in May? Well, two reasons.

First of all, ministers preparing to begin new positions this summer are in the process of working with their congregations on their ministerial agreements. While sometimes the agreement may specify the amount of the housing allowance, often the actual dollar figure is determined closer to the start date, after housing is secured and anticipated costs are better known. We don't want this piece of the process to fall through the cracks, especially since the designation must be made in advance of expenses incurred in order for the tax exclusion to apply.

The second reason for this reminder is that we're hearing from ministers who have recently realized that a designation was never made for 2017 (or that it was set too low). It's not too late to designate or re-designate. Just keep in mind that any new or adjusted amount only operates prospectively, i.e., it can only be applied to expenses incurred after the date of the designation.

Housing Allowance Resources:
Model Employment Agreement Under Review

Our model employment agreement for ministers is spelled out in  Joint Recommendations on Ministerial Agreements. ("Joint" refers to a collaboration between UUA staff and UU Ministers Association leadership.) Originally created in 2001, this resource was last updated in 2012.  We're now in the process of reviewing and revising it once again. Once we have the standard agreement finalized ("standard" = full-time solo or lead minister), we'll modify the template for use in other situations, e.g., interim minister, second minister, part-time position. We'll also use this same template as a starting point for a model employment agreement that's appropriate for non-ministerial staff.

This revision process involves many sets of eyes and multiple rounds of edits. If you have questions or feedback about the current model agreement that you'd like us to consider as we work on the next edition, we welcome you to contact Rev. Richard Nugent, Director, Church Staff Finances,; Rev. Keith Kron, Director, Transitions Office, ; or Jan Gartner, Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager,

Jan Gartner | Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager |
 UUA Office of Church Staff Finances
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